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Published by: rmzx83 on Mar 10, 2011
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Position: Commander, 10th, 28th, 38th, 45th, and 56th fronts.

Background: Germán Briceño, younger brother of Jorge Briceño Suárez, was
born in the Duda region of Colombia, in the jurisdiction of Uribe, Meta
Department, in 1953. His father was the legendary guerrilla Juan de la Cruz
Varela, and his mother was a peasant woman, Romelia Suárez. At the
recommendation of his brother, Germán Briceño became an official member of
the FARC in 1980. Even from that early date, Germán Briceño showed himself to
be more of a fighter and bolder than his older brother, despite the latter’s own
reputation for boldness. Germán Briceño was promoted rapidly to commander of
the FARC’s 30th

Front in Cauca Department. After founding a combat training
school in that department’s Buenos Aires municipality, he began to be known for
his meanness. He was reportedly suspended temporarily from the FARC for his
excesses against the peasants and his subordinates, but later readmitted as a
commander, thanks to his brother. However, he was transferred to Vichada
Department, where he engaged in weapons trafficking and extortion of taxes
from coca growers and drug traffickers.

In 1994, after being promoted to his brother’s Western Bloc staff, Germán
Briceño took over command of the 10th

Front, which operates in Arauca
Department and along the Venezuelan border. Since then he has also assumed

Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism


command of the 28th

, 38th

, 45th

, and 56th

fronts, operating in the economically
and militarily important departments of Arauca, Boyaca, and Casanare. In 1994
he reportedly participated, along with his brother, in the kidnappings and
murders of American missionaries Stephen Welsh and Timothy van Dick; the
kidnapping of Raymond Rising, an official from the Summer Linguistics Institute;
and the kidnappings of industrialist Enrique Mazuera Durán and his son,
Mauricio, both of whom have U.S. citizenship. Germán Briceño is also accused of
kidnapping British citizen Nigel Breeze, and he is under investigation for the
murder of two Colombian Marine Infantry deputy officers and for the kidnappings
of Carlos Bastardo, a lieutenant from the Venezuelan navy, as well as about a
dozen cattlemen from Venezuela’s Apure State. His kidnap victims in Arauca have
included the son of Congressman Adalberto Jaimes; and Rubén Dario López,
owner of the Arauca convention center, along with his wife. He has also ordered
the murders of young women who were the girlfriends of police or military

On February 23, 1999, Germán Briceño also kidnapped, without FARC
authorization, three U.S. indigenous activists in Arauca and murdered them a
week later in Venezuelan territory. The incident resulted in the breaking off of
contact between the FARC and the U.S. Department of State. After a so-called
FARC internal investigation, he was exonerated, again thanks to his brother, and
a guerrilla named Gildardo served as the fall guy. Germán Briceño recovered part
of his warrior’s reputation by leading an offensive against the army in March and
April 1999 that resulted in the deaths of 60 of the army’s soldiers. On July 30,
1999, however, Germán Briceño once again carried out an unauthorized action
by hijacking a Venezuela Avior commercial flight with 18 people on board (they
were released on August 8).

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